poppy seed bundt cake

There are certain things I make that instantly take me back to my childhood. Just seeing the recipe card from my mom can bring back the taste and smells of some of my favorite meals. One of my mother's most-requested cakes to bake from my sister and me was poppy seed bundt cake. (Notice there's no lemon - it's NOT lemon poppy seed cake - which I akin to eating a cake doused with Lysol.) 

Mom would make this moist cake for breakfasts or brunches on the weekends, although we'd eat it for dessert as well. We would often give them away around the holidays. One time for Christmas my mom made 20 of these bundt cakes. I'm not kidding. Really, it was 20 cakes. And they were all over ever surface in the kitchen and dining room. I remember her staying up way too late baking and baking the bundts for the neighbors. After that, we narrowed our bundt-giving list down substantially. :) 

Anyway - the cake! I think one of the reasons mom made this so frequently was that it is so incredibly easy. I'm not sure where she got the recipe - probably from one of her colleagues or from my Aunt Kathy. It's not gourmet by any means (hello, cake mix and pudding!), but it is oh so good. It's light, and moist, and buttery. I added a light glaze to the top of mine mostly because the top of the cake isn't that great to look at. I thought it needed a bit of sheen, but really this cake needs no accompaniment other than a big tall glass of milk.

{Step by steps below. Full recipe at bottom of the post}

For me, the hardest part of making this cake is finding butterscotch pudding mix in a New York grocery store. Check out that off-brand I located at some Morton Williams on Lexington Avenue. "My. T. Fine." Hilarious, but it worked. 

The directions couldn't be simpler. Beat all ingredients (except for the poppy seeds) in a mixer, adding the eggs in one at a time. Look at that beautiful golden color!

Slowly stir in your poppy seeds.

Bake at 350° for 50 minutes in a greased and floured bundt pan.

After baking, flip the cake out and onto a baking rack to cool.  Optional: pour glaze over warm cake.

And that's it. So easy! Your entire house will smell like one of those weird candles that smell like cake. Except it's not an artificial smell. It's real!

 Just seeing all these photos makes me crave a slice.

Make this for your Easter guests this weekend. Or stress-bake 20 of them and give them to your neighbors. ☺

Poppy Seed Bundt Cake
Adapted slightly from my mother's recipe

Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 box yellow cake mix
  • 1 1/2 boxes butterscotch pudding
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of poppy seeds
Glaze Ingredients (Optional. cake perfectly great without the glaze.)
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons milk, depending on thickness you desire

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour bundt cake pan.
  2. Beat cake mix, pudding, oil, and water in a mixer.
  3. Add in one egg at a time, beating until fully incorporated.
  4. Beat for 3 minutes until silky texture.
  5. Stir in poppy seeds until well combined.
  6. Bake at 350°F for 50 minutes until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  7. Place on baking rack to cool.
  8. Mix the glaze - whisk together powdered sugar, almond extract, and lemon juice.
  9. Slowly whisk in one tablespoon of milk at a time until you reach your desired consistency.
  10. Pour over warm cake. (Make sure you have something under that baking rack or you're going to have a sticky mess to clean up!)

Confession: I ate two slices of this cake while writing this post. I can't not eat it while I write about it. Some may call it gluttony, I call in inspiration.... Or something.


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